Artists Across the Straits

Palacio Salcines, Guantanamo, Cuba
August 11, 2016

        November 29-December 9, 2016 (tentative dates)

In celebration of normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba the Friendship Association has created a new program series: Across the Straits. Musicians Across the Straits was our first, amazingly successful event. Artists Across the Straits is our next adventure with our nearest neighbors to the south, followed by With My SUP Across the Straits.

        The Friendship Association has been asked to help facilitate an art exhibit in Guantánamo, Cuba, honoring Cuban artist, Rogelio Martínez, who will celebrate 50 years of being a professional artist. Rogelio has graciously invited two outstanding artists: Jean Blackburn from Sarasota, and Taylor Ikin from Tampa, to share this exhibit with him.   

        The 11 day event will include the inauguration of the exhibit in the historic Palacio Salcines museum; cultural interactions with artists, musicians, and dance groups from Guantánamo, Santiago de Cuba, and Baracoa. We will also have time to explore some of Cuba’s most exquisite natural landscapes. Artists are welcome to sketch; photographers are invited to shoot; and all are welcome to enjoy the magnificent people, towns and countryside of Eastern Cuba. New culinary experiences will play a prominent role in each day’s activities.

        You do not have to be an artist to participate in this unique delegation; art and nature enthusiasts are a necessary part of the success of this Crossing! Contact us right away, as space is limited to 12 people. 


Tues. Nov. 29: Flight Tampa/Holguin. Our driver will meet us at the airport with our air-conditioned tour bus. Depending on arrival time, to El Morro Fort for sunset. Bring your sketch pad or lenses! Check in to Hotel Casa Granda. Cocktails on rooftop. Overnight in Santiago.

Wed. Nov. 30: Morning: Visit to Taller Cultural “Luis Diaz Oduardo”, Calle 11, #316. Meet artists, ceramicists, graphic artists. Visit San Juan Hill, site where the infamous Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders beat back the Spanish to end the Spanish/Cuban/American War. Afternoon: lunch at Granma Island. Visit Centro Cultural “Francisco Prat Puig”. Meet with Santiago artists Zúniga, Ochoa, and others. Walk around the historic center of Santiago. Dinner at St Pauli restaurant on Enramada St.

Thurs. Dec. 1: Early departure for Guantánamo. Set up art exhibit. Evening program with Danza Libre, a Modern Dance group.

Fri. Dec 2: Morning walk around the center of Guantánamo and meeting with Jorge Nuñez, President of the Union of Cuban Artists and Writers in Guantánamo. Meet other local artists. Finalize setting up art exhibit. Inauguration exhibit.

Sat. Dec. 3: Festivities of “La Fiesta a la Guantánamera”. Visit to Stone Zoo. Overnight in Guantánamo.

Sun. Dec 4: Departure for Baracoa. Stop along the way to appreciate the desert-like landscape with limestone terraces. Lunch in Imías. Check in to Hotel El Castillo, a former colonial fort situated on a hill overlooking Baracoa. Evening musical event. Guided walk around the historic center of Baracoa with Architect Enrique Floirian and Art Historian Rosendo Romero. Study the eclectic architecture and visit well-known artists in their studios. Meet Mildo Matos, Luis Eliades, Piedra, Caboverde and others. Stop at the Cacao Museum/Café for coffee break. Visit the Casa de Cultura and learn about educational projects with children who study art, dance, and music. Lunch in town at a private restaurant. Evening free for musical events.

Mon. Dec 5: Excursion to the Duaba river and waterfalls. Bring sketch pads and lenses. Lunch on the river. Don’t forget your bathing suit.

Tues. Dec 6: Excursion to Yumurí. Bring sketch pads and lenses. Lunch on the river.

Wed. Dec 7: Day free for visiting artists and other new friends. Evening goodbye party with our new Cuban friends.

Thurs. Dec 8: Leave for Santiago de Cuba. Overnight in Santiago. Dinner with local artists. Free time for musical activities.

Fri. Dec 9: Departure for MIAMI (unless other flights to Tampa open up by December). Another option is to depart Tuesday Dec 6 from Holguin to Tampa. This is an option for anyone who has limited time available.


Purpose and goals: to meet with Cuban artists, dancers and musicians for meaningful cultural interaction; to participate with our Cuban counterparts in an art exhibit to be held at the Palacio Salcines in Guantanamo, Cuba. Time will be dedicated to meaningful exchanges with professionals and with local people, and we will discuss strategies for improving communication between our two countries.

        Please note, this is an intensive itinerary with a strong focus on meaningful interaction with our Cuban counterparts. The Friendship Association is obligated to keep accurate records of delegations for eventual review by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To assist in that report, you are asked to keep a log of formal and informal interaction with our Cuban counterparts.

Cost:   $3,600 (double occupancy. Add $300 for single supplement).
        Includes: roundtrip airfare Miami/Santiago de Cuba – Holguin/Miami (or Tampa if possible); exit tax; all transportation within Cuba; full medical insurance in Cuba; all hotels and bed and breakfasts (3 & 4 star); all meals (fixed, but flexible menu) in Cuba; all entrances fees; major tips, American bilingual tour guide and a professional, Cuban guide. A note regarding meals: if you prefer a special meal such as lobster you only need to pay the difference from our budgeted price. Since people’s drinking habits vary greatly, to be fair, each person is responsible for their own drinks, including extra bottled water.

        Not included: transportation to and from your hometown, to and from airport; overnight stays at the hotel in Miami (or wherever departure is from) en route to and from Cuba; personal tips such as housekeepers, porters, drivers, and guides; all drinks; fees for extra suitcases and overweight, travel insurance, and membership in the Friendship Association.


Schedule of payments (deadline for applying is August 15, 2016)

$225 nonrefundable deposit and membership due with application.
$1,700 due September 30
$1,700 due October 15. (Or $2,000 for single occupancy if available)

Make checks out to: The Friendship Association and mail to:

P.O. Box 840011
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Please advise me by email when you have mailed your application, check, color copy of your passport and release from liability. If you want to pay by credit card you can use our PayPal account, but please add 3% to each payment. You may pay ahead of schedule.

Cancellations, and Refunds:

        All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark. If you cancel before one month from departure, you will receive a refund of 50% of the payment you have made so far (excluding membership ($25.00) and the non-refundable deposit ($200). If you cancel within a month prior to departure you will lose your entire amount. Leaving an expedition in progress, for any reason whatsoever, will not result in a refund, and no refunds can be made for any unused portions of an expedition. We reserve the right to cancel any trip for good-faith concerns with respect to the safety, health, or welfare of the participants, or for major political shifts from either or both governments. If an expedition is canceled prior to departure, you will receive a full refund except for your deposit and membership dues.

        If you are not accepted for the delegation, your money will be returned in full. We cannot be responsible for missed connections to and from the Miami Airport (or Tampa) or for hotels in Miami (or Tampa) because of missed connections or any other reason.

        The delegation is limited in number. Please feel free to share your comments or questions. You will receive final names of airports, hotels, and emergency contact numbers when they are known.

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